Tag Archives: Internal Revenue Service

2018 Standard Mileage Rates

From the IRS website:

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 54.5 cents for every mile of business travel driven, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
  • 18 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, up 1 cent from the rate for 2017.
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations.

The business mileage rate and the medical and moving expense rates each increased 1 cent per mile from the rates for 2017. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.

 

Schutte & Hilgendorf offers a broad range of professional accounting, tax, and audit services to individuals and businesses throughout Yavapai County and Northern Arizona.   With over 40 years combined certified public accounting experience, we specialize in providing services to numerous industry specific areas, including non-profit organizations, homeowner’s associations and construction contracting.  We also provide tax planning and preparation, sales tax and payroll tax return preparation, ongoing accounting/bookkeeping, live payroll, and QuickBooks setup and training (QuickBooks Proadvisors).  Given our small size, we can still provide a personal touch with professional expertise. Come in and see us anytime at 2086 Willow Creek Road, Prescott, Arizona or call us at 928-778-0079.


Recent Tax Law Changes

Schutte & Hilgendorf, PLLC has been tracking the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act very closely. We believe your knowledge of these changes and how they affect you and/or your business is very important.  Following are a few of the main components of the bill that may affect your tax returns. Most of the provisions of the bill go into effect for 2018 tax returns, but there are couple changes that will go into effect for 2017 tax returns.

 

Individual Tax Law Changes

Individual mandate

The act removed (by reducing it to zero) the penalty for not obtaining qualified health insurance, effective after 2018.

 

A top individual tax bracket of 37%

The top tax bracket for individuals has been reduced from 39.6% to 37%. Many of the other brackets have been reduced as well.

 

Standard deduction: The act increased the standard deduction to $24,000 for joint returns and $12,000 for single individuals. The additional standard deduction for elderly and blind taxpayers was not changed by the act. The personal exemptions of $4,050 per person were repealed.

 

Itemized deductions

  • Overall limitation: The act repealed the overall limitation on itemized deductions.
  • Mortgage interest: The home mortgage interest deduction was modified to reduce the limit to $750,000 of acquisition debt (from the limit of $1 million) on mortgages created or modified after December 15th, 2017.
  • Home-equity loans: The home-equity loan interest will no longer be deductible. 
  • State and local taxes: Individuals will only be allowed to deduct up to $10,000 in state and local income or property taxes.
  • Miscellaneous itemized deductions: All miscellaneous itemized deductions subject to the 2% floor under current law will no longer be allowed, including common deductions like employee business expenses, tax preparation fees, investment fees, safe deposit box fees.
  • Medical expenses: The threshold for deduction of medical expenses was reduced to 7.5% from 10% of adjusted gross income for 2017 and 2018.

 

Individual Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

The act increased the thresholds for when AMT will apply to individuals.

 

Child tax credit

The act increased the amount of the child tax credit to $2,000 per qualifying child. The maximum refundable amount of the credit is now $1,400. The act also created a new nonrefundable $500 credit for qualifying dependents who are not qualifying children. The threshold at which the credit begins to phase out was increased to $400,000 for joint returns and $200,000 for other taxpayers.

 

Education provisions

The act modifies Sec. 529 plans to allow them to distribute up to $10,000 in expenses for tuition at an elementary or secondary school. This limitation applies on a per-student basis, rather than on a per-account basis.

 

Alimony

For any divorce or separation agreement executed or modified after Dec. 31, 2018, the act provides that alimony and separate maintenance payments are not deductible by the payer spouse. Payments to the recipient spouse are also no longer taxable.

 

Business Tax Law Changes

 Corporate tax rate of 21%

The act replaced the prior-law graduated corporate tax rate, with a flat rate of 21%. The new rate took effect Jan. 1, 2018.

 

Pass-through income deduction

For tax years after 2017, individuals may be allowed to deduct 20% of “qualified business income” from a partnership, S corporation, or sole proprietorship, as well as 20% of qualified real estate investment trust (REIT) dividends, qualified cooperative dividends, and qualified publicly traded partnership income.

 

The deduction can be phased out based on W-2 wages above a threshold amount and for “specified service businesses” when the taxpayer has taxable income in excess of $315,000 for a joint return and $157,500 for single individuals.

 

Bonus depreciation

The act extended and modified bonus depreciation, allowing businesses to immediately deduct 100% of the cost of eligible property in the year it is placed in service. It also removed the rule that made bonus depreciation available only for new property.

 

Sec. 179 expensing 

The act increased the maximum amount a taxpayer may expense under Sec. 179 to $1 million and increased the phaseout threshold to $2.5 million. These amounts will be indexed for inflation after 2018.

 

Like-kind exchanges 

Under the act, like-kind exchanges under Sec. 1031 will be limited to exchanges of real property that is not primarily held for sale. This will affect the trade in of company vehicles when purchasing a new company vehicle.

 

Domestic production activities

The act repealed the Sec. 199 domestic production activities deduction.

 

Entertainment expenses

The act disallows a deduction for (1) an activity generally considered to be entertainment, amusement, or recreation; (2) membership dues for any club organized for business, pleasure, recreation, or other social purposes; or (3) a facility or portion thereof used in connection with any of the above items.

 

Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

The act repealed the corporate AMT.

 

Employer credit for paid family or medical leave

The act allows eligible employers to claim a credit equal to 12.5% of the amount of wages paid to a qualifying employee during any period in which the employee is on family and medical leave if the rate of payment under the program is 50% of the wages normally paid to the employee. The credit is increased by 0.25 percentage points (but not above 25%) for each percentage point by which the rate of payment exceeds 50%. The maximum amount of family and medical leave that may be taken into account for any employee in any tax year is 12 weeks. However, the credit is only available in 2018 and 2019.

 

Schutte & Hilgendorf offers a broad range of professional accounting, tax, and audit services to individuals and businesses throughout Yavapai County and Northern Arizona.   With over 40 years combined certified public accounting experience, we specialize in providing services to numerous industry specific areas, including non-profit organizations, homeowner’s associations and construction contracting.  We also provide tax planning and preparation, sales tax and payroll tax return preparation, ongoing accounting/bookkeeping, live payroll, and QuickBooks setup and training (QuickBooks Proadvisors).  Given our small size, we can still provide a personal touch with professional expertise. Come in and see us anytime at 2086 Willow Creek Road, Prescott, Arizona or call us at 928-778-0079.


IRS Small Business Tip – Employee or Independent Contractor??

Issue Number: IRS Small Business Week Tax Tip 2017-02
Inside This Issue
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Employee or Independent Contractor? Know the Rules

The IRS encourages all businesses and business owners to know the rules when it comes to classifying a worker as an employee or an independent contractor.
An employer must withhold income taxes and pay Social Security, Medicare taxes and unemployment tax on wages paid to an employee. Employers normally do not have to withhold or pay any taxes on payments to independent contractors.
Here are two key points for small business owners to keep in mind when it comes to classifying workers:
1. Control. The relationship between a worker and a business is important. If the business controls what work is accomplished and directs how it is done, it exerts behavioral control. If the business directs or controls financial and certain relevant aspects of a worker’s job, it exercises financial control. This includes:
• The extent of the worker’s investment in the facilities or tools used in performing services
• The extent to which the worker makes his or her services available to the relevant market
• How the business pays the worker, and
• The extent to which the worker can realize a profit or incur a loss
2.  Relationship.  How the employer and worker perceive their relationship is also important for determining worker status. Key topics to think about include:
• Written contracts describing the relationship the parties intended to create
• Whether the business provides the worker with employee-type benefits, such as insurance, a pension plan, vacation or sick pay
• The permanency of the relationship, and
• The extent to which services performed by the worker are a key aspect of the regular business of the company
• The extent to which the worker has unreimbursed business expenses
The IRS can help employers determine the status of their workers by using form Form SS-8, Determination of Worker Status for Purposes of Federal Employment Taxes and Income Tax Withholding. IRS Publication 15-A, Employer’s Supplemental Tax Guide, is also an excellent resource.
Share this tip on social media — Employee or Independent Contractor? Know the Rules. https://go.usa.gov/x58ra#IRS


IRS Alerts

Borrowed via Checkpoint Newsstand – Thomson Reuters post 2/7/17
The following are some recent phishing scams and myths that the IRS would like you to be aware of :
Federal Tax Highlights

Washington Alert — Part I

IRS, joined by state tax agencies and the tax industry, has issued an “urgent alert” to all employers regarding the Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) email phishing scam. (IR 2017-20) According to the agency, the phishing scam “has evolved beyond the corporate world and is spreading to other sectors, including school districts, tribal organizations and nonprofits”. The W-2 scammers have been coupling their attempts to steal employee W-2 information with a scheme regarding wire transfers. As described by IRS, cybercriminals use a variety of techniques to make an email appear as if it is from an organization executive. The email is sent to an employee in the payroll or human resources departments and requests a list of all employees and their Forms W-2. In a new twist, the perpetrators follow up with an “executive” email to the payroll department or comptroller and ask that a wire transfer be made to a specific account. In some cases, companies have responded to this request. Noting that there has been “an upswing of [scam] reports in recent days”, IRS urged employers to immediately share this information with their payroll, finance and human resource personnel. They also should have an internal policy on the distribution of employee W-2 information and conducting wire transfers. “This is one of the most dangerous email phishing scams we’ve seen in a long time”, said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “It can result in the large-scale theft of sensitive data that criminals can use to commit various crimes, including filing fraudulent tax returns.” Additional information is available at irs.gov/uac/dangerous-w-2-phishing-scam-evolving-targeting-schools-restaurants-hospitals-tribal-groups-and-others

IRS has issued tips to taxpayers that refute several “myths” pertaining to tax refunds currently circulating. (IR 2017-16) The myths included the following – all refunds are delayed; calling IRS or a tax professional will provide a better refund date; ordering a tax transcript is a “secret way” to obtain a refund date; the “Where’s My Refund” tool must be incorrect because there is no deposit date appearing; and delayed refunds for those claiming the earned income tax credit or the additional child tax credit will be delivered on Feb. 15. Complete details can be found at irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-answers-common-early-tax-season-refund-questions-and-addresses-surrounding-myths

IRS has commenced publishing entries to its annual list of “Dirty Dozen” tax scams for the 2017 filing season. (IR 2017-15) Phishing schemes now lead the newest Dirty Dozen list. As of Feb. 3, IRS published two additional entries on its list – telephone scams and identity theft. It is expected that the agency will be announcing daily additions to the list. Updated information will appear at irs.gov/uac/newsroom/dirty-dozen

 

If you receive any suspicious emails, phone calls, or mail, contact us at  Schutte & Hilgendorf CPAs .

 

Schutte & Hilgendorf offers a broad range of professional accounting, tax, and audit services to individuals and businesses throughout Yavapai County and Northern Arizona.   With over 40 years combined certified public accounting experience, we specialize in providing services to numerous industry specific areas, including non-profit organizations, homeowner’s associations and construction contracting.  We also provide tax planning and preparation, sales tax and payroll tax return preparation, ongoing accounting/bookkeeping, live payroll, and QuickBooks setup and training (QuickBooks Proadvisors).  Given our small size, we can still provide a personal touch with professional expertise. Come in and see us anytime at 2086 Willow Creek Road, Prescott, Arizona or call us at 928-778-0079.

 

 


2017 Standard Mileage Rates

From the IRS website:

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2017, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 53.5 cents per mile for business miles driven, down from 54 cents for 2016
  • 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down from 19 cents for 2016
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

The business mileage rate decreased half a cent per mile and the medical and moving expense rates each dropped 2 cents per mile from 2016. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.   The standard mileage rate for business is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs.

 

Go to the following link for more information:

 

2017 Standard Mileage Rates for Business, Medical and Moving Announced

 

Schutte & Hilgendorf is a leading Prescott CPA firm, offering superior client service to individuals, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and homeowners associations.

Our services include accounting, bookkeeping, audit, review, tax return preparation, tax planning, payroll and QuickBooks consulting. We are located in Prescott and serve all of Yavapai County, and Northern Arizona.


IRS Tax Tips: Premium Tax Credit Checkup for your 2016 Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage

If you or anyone in your family are getting advance payments of the “premium tax credit” you should check to see if you need to adjust your premium assistance.  Please see IRS tax tips link below for more detailed information.

 

Premium Tax Credit Checkup for 2016 Health Insurance Marketplace Coverage

 

If you have additional questions about this post or any other, please contact us directly at 928-778-0079.

Schutte & Hilgendorf is a leading Prescott CPA firm, offering superior client service to individuals, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and homeowners associations.

Our services include accounting, bookkeeping, audit, review, tax return preparation, tax planning, payroll and QuickBooks consulting. We are located in Prescott and serve all of Yavapai County, and Northern Arizona.


IRS Warns of Latest Tax Scam Involving Bogus Federal Student Tax

Go to the following link:

 

IRS Warns of Latest Tax Scam Involving Bogus “Federal Student Tax”

 

If you have additional questions about this post or any other, please contact us directly at 928-778-0079.

Schutte & Hilgendorf is a leading Prescott CPA firm, offering superior client service to individuals, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and homeowners associations.

Our services include accounting, bookkeeping, audit, review, tax return preparation, tax planning, payroll and QuickBooks consulting. We are located in Prescott and serve all of Yavapai County, and Northern Arizona.


2016’s Dirty Dozen Tax Scams

In this day and age of technology, each day brings new ways for thieves to part individuals from their hard earned income.  Each year the IRS releases a list of what it considers the worst tax scams of the year.  See the link below for the article published by the Journal of Accountancy for the worst tax scams in 2016.    

“dirty dozen” worst tax scams

 

If you have additional questions about this post or any other, please contact us directly at 928-778-0079.

Schutte & Hilgendorf is a leading Prescott CPA firm, offering superior client service to individuals, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and homeowners associations.

Our services include accounting, bookkeeping, audit, review, tax return preparation, tax planning, payroll and QuickBooks consulting. We are located in Prescott and serve all of Yavapai County, and Northern Arizona.


ALERT FROM THE IRS

The IRS has sent notification that a new fraudulent email is being issued to tax preparers and self-filers asking them to update their information. This email WAS NOT generated by the IRS.
Please do not respond. Just delete the email.

The IRS does not notify anyone of anything by email. They conduct all correspondence by mail.


Charitable Solicitations – What is Required in Arizona and Other States

We have been asked by our clients where to locate information regarding laws for charitable solicitations in Arizona and other states.  Laws regulating the solicitation of funds can vary from state to state.  The IRS provides some basic information with links to other resources to answer these state by state questions. 

 

See the link below for specific information on these requirements.

 

IRS Information for Charitable Solicitations

 

If you have additional questions about this post or any other, please contact us directly at 928-778-0079.

Schutte & Hilgendorf is a leading Prescott CPA firm, offering superior client service to individuals, small businesses, non-profit organizations, and homeowners associations.

Our services include accounting, bookkeeping, audit, review, tax return preparation, tax planning, payroll and QuickBooks consulting.  We are located in Prescott and serve all of Yavapai County, and Northern Arizona.